Diverse Faces Versus Diverse Stories

“I didn’t see myself or my son represented in that video.”

That was a comment I received earlier this year after finishing filming and editing the UC Davis “Principles of Community” video, a piece featuring more than 20 students, staff and faculty from across the racial and gender spectrum.

What surprised me about that comment was its source: a Caucasian male. This video was meant to represent the whole campus community and send a powerful message about university ideals. In my team’s efforts to encapsulate all the vibrant communities at UC Davis, we neglected to include any young, white men.

Granted, white men are not the first who come to mind when considering diversity, equity and inclusion. But that comment made me think broadly about who was and wasn’t included in other projects. By focusing on including certain populations, was I excluding others? Is checking racial boxes a good way to measure the success of visual communications work?

That’s where ideas from multicultural marketing — a term recently introduced to me — could be valuable. Essentially, multicultural marketing focuses on telling authentic stories that your target audience feels passionately about and supports, usually centered around shared culture. The focus becomes finding the unique story that can bring people together.

Now as I think about DEI for future projects, I consider this: What diverse stories have not yet been told?

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